The content of the exchanges and mutual learning activities is the second important element of this project. JPIs TO CO-WORK intends to broaden the analysis of Framework Conditions and associated criteria to advance in the explicit discussion of implicit values, criteria and potential conflicts, so as to identify different ways of reaching in-win pragmatic approaches.
The functions named as FC, the criteria to apply them, and the issues that remain open are outlined in the GROUPE DE PROGRAMMATION CONJOINTE (ERA-GPC) document. However, many criteria for FC leave room for further specification and more detailed analysis. This means that before deciding any approach to implement a JPI in practice, these actions have to be explored with greater detail as can be initially thought. Here are the open issues as defined in the ERA-GPC document:
There are Six Framework Conditions that have been described and considered relevant to implement JPIs:
1. Peer Review Procedures
2. Foresight Activities
3. Evaluation of Joint Programmes
4. Funding of Cross-border Research by National or Regional Authorities
5. Optimum Dissemination and Use of Research Findings
6. Protection, Management and Sharing of Intellectual Property Rights
- Peer review.
Main focus: Selection of expert evaluators, process transparency, fairness and impartiality, the ethical dimension.
This FC includes the selection of the evaluators, the procedures to guarantee confidentiality, the management of conflicts of interest, the contents of the review, the interface of peer review with the decision to fund a project.
- Foresight activities:
Main focus: The implementation level, organization and governance of foresight activities, as well as the methods.
Foresight should include all essential elements to identify the challenge to be addressed, analyse it in socially relevant terms and include basic elements of the research agenda to be developed. Foresight is also the basic element of the “Vision Papers” of JPIs, which corresponds to the initial steps in the implementation of a JPI, and should be a continuous exercise providing updated input to ERA initiatives. Certainly foresight activities have to describe the scientific target problem of an ERA initiative, but how to define and assess a societal problem as target of an ERA initiative is still an open issue. Also open for further improvement and refinement are the identification of economic sectors concerned by the results of the JPI, and how to analyse whether the impact of implementing the initiative will improve the opportunities we have to address the relevant societal challenge.
- Evaluation of Joint Programmes.
Main focus: Well laid-out hierarchy of objectives of the JPI, meaningful parameters, evaluation methods, information management, qualified evaluators.
Evaluation is a strategic issue since its results will determine the future of initiatives (if ex-post) or even their implementation (if ex-ante). Also clear definitions of procedures for monitoring the progress of the ERA initiatives will be needed and refined. Evaluation has to include the analysis of the impact of the initiative on the societal challenge it proposed to address, how dissemination and innovation was influential, and whether all that can be related to the research activities being promoted.
Closely associated to the evaluation issues is the discussion of governing structures and mechanisms of a JPI. Decision making rules, the adscription of the secretariats andthe definition of essential governing bodies are among the issues to be further refined. To this end, exchange of experiences will be extremely useful.
- Funding of Cross-border Research by National or Regional Authorities.
Main focus: Real common pots, virtual common pots, balance or mixed common pots, the European grant Union.
The adoption of concrete commitments, administrative solutions and managerial arrangements to fund cross border research are proved to be time consuming. Therefore, learning from each other and from experiences in ERA-nets or JPIs will be very useful. But even more important than that, the descriptions of different funding mechanisms such as common pot, virtual common pot, as described in the ERA-GPC document, do not exhaust the theme on funding of cross-border research. Participants in JPIs and other initiatives may learn to better frame decisions on these mechanisms beyond the analysis of whose scientific community is funded. Funding should be based on the principle of rewarding and promoting scientific excellence and achieving the objectives of the initiatives as stated in the foresight and evaluation exercises, and not the other way round. Related to it, other aspects of the problems to be faced by a single initiative and even more by the complete set of ERA initiatives may include mid- and long-term consequences such as research specialization in the States involved, the benefits of networking on the quality of research structures, or the benefits on the economic sectors concerned regardless of the place where research is performed.
- Optimum Dissemination and Use of Research Findings and Protection, Management and Sharing of Intellectual Property Rights.
These two FCs are closely related. They both deal with innovation initiatives. Addressing each of them implicitly involves considering the other, because they are about how to ensure that the relevant stakeholder gets the results of research to innovate its activities. Deciding between an open access policy or protecting property rights is basically a matter of properly identifying the relevant stakeholders and their activities. What is appropriate for an output of research with potential commercial interest may not be the best for an output with policy making relevance. In addition, reaching the right audience or client of an output of a JPI deserves an active attitude and policy, which is far more than the scientific approach of measuring just publications or even patents. Therefore these FCs are also relevant for the FC on Evaluation.
Main focus: Dissemination and open access policies, knowledge transfer in publicly funded research, lack of seed finance to close the innovation gap, evidence-based policy making.
A clear policy to connect research performance and the potential users of research results is to be defined in all JPIs to promote innovation. Innovation should refer also to policy making and to societal innovation, and therefore a specific approach should be developed for each audience.
Open issues of Protection, management and sharing of intellectual property rights: Different IP regimes in Europe, IP issues raised by funding agencies, IP and human resources.
An active and proactive approach to IP issues should be adopted by ERA initiatives from the beginning, to optimize the uptake of research results by the economy.